Dance To Avoid Falls
A new investigation from Switzerland found that dance training can decrease falling by 31 percent and reduces the risk of falling by 37 percent among those age 65 and over. Dance movements “are intentional, focused, and involve the constant attention control for the shifting of body weight,” said study leader Michèle Mattle, a movement scientist at the University of Zurich. She added that these movements are good training for maintaining dynamic balance in unexpected situations and for enhancing reaction time. Allison Mays, M.D., a geriatrician and assistant professor of medicine at Cedars Sinai in Southern California, notes that falls are the leading cause of accidental death and injury in people over age 65. She wrote that to prevent falls, a dance class should challenge a person’s balance and require shifting weight. In the trials reviewed in the Swiss analysis, she said people attended their dance classes 80 percent of the time and that “having something that’s healthy and fun makes a difference…not everyone wants to do a traditional exercise class, so if you can get benefits from flamenco, then that’s wonderful…. I was very pleased to see that we’re building evidence around dance and other fun activities that are going to benefit our patients.”
Michele Mattle et al, “Association of Dance-Based Mind-Motor Activities with Falls and Physical Function Among Healthy Older Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis,” JAMA network Open, September 25, 2020, doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.17688
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